The Hound of the Baskervilles
Mad Cow Theater, Orlando FL
by Carl F. Gauze
Another Orlando institution resurfaces as Mad Cow Theater puts up the blatantly silly and intentionally self-referential “The Hound of the Baskervilles” Sherlock Holmes (Pyatt) solves crimes for a hobby and skates up to the very edge of the law. His loyal yet bumbling sidekick Dr. Watson (Keesling) tries to keep up but is almost written out of the script several times. Our endangered victim (Geniac) is the last of the Baskervilles, one of those families with patriarchs going so far back they used to have out with Will Shakespeare’s uncle. Holmes and Watson are constantly dashing off while almost getting offed themselves, and when they aren’t seeking the murderer, they play all the incidental roles from Lady Baskerville to the Monster on the Moor.
It’s a perfect reopening play, we really don’t need a heavy drama right now. I’d hold those off until we are finished with all the pent up “Scrooge” stories bursting to get on stage. Tonight’s set is simple yet flexible, and all objects do double and treble duty. Pyatt’s best side role is the Spanish Lady, while Keesling does some of the best stage bumbling I’ve seen. He also spends more than a few lines hoping for dinner, but as everyone knows, avoid food onstage at all costs. Mr. Genic specializes in nebbish parts in the melodrama, he’s always in danger of drowning, beheading, or getting run over by a set piece. The on stage business flows like a cool mountain stream thanks to choreography by local dance doyen Blue Estrella. Classy! Holmes gets deconstructed, the young running crew really does have to run, and director Simotes somehow juggles all the action while balancing on one foot. It’s good to be back, and even the post show champagne tastes good.